The ability to stay positive and productive in the face of change, challenges and uncertainty is essential for career success. In this article, you'll learn how to boost your workplace motivation by using five ways to rekindle passion for your career.
1. Set a worthy goal... and achieve it
Having something significant and meaningful to work toward is a great motivator. Accomplishing that goal is an even bigger “shot in the arm.”
When I share this strategy in my presentations, I help the audience members come up with a goal that might be a worthy one by asking them to complete the phrase: “Someday I will...”
A wide range of responses result from completing this phrase. Someday I will...go back to school, write a book, take a trip, start a business, apply for a promotion, learn a new skill, and so on. Asking yourself this question can shed light on what might boost your motivation and re-ignite your excitement about your career...and life in general.
On a personal note, I had proclaimed for at least five years “Someday I will write a book... and it’s going to be called “If You Can’t Say Something Nice, What DO You Say?” I even had a specific title in mind, but still took no action. My speaking colleagues grew weary of me whining about the book I was supposedly going to write. They finally challenged me to either write the book or stop talking about writing the book. Long story short, I wrote the book in 2006.
2. Teach. Learn.
This two-sided coin—teach and learn—can help you feel more positive about your work.
Have you ever noticed that when you have the opportunity to show a newcomer the ropes at your company, it reminds you of what drew you to that business in the first place? Or, perhaps you’re involved in presenting at a conference or meeting on the latest developments in your department. Or, you’re serving as a mentor to young professionals or youth in your community. All of those “teaching” opportunities serve to give you that spark that you may have lost along the way.
On the other side of the coin, “learning” opportunities can also be motivating. Working on a new project as part of your company’s cross-training efforts can inject new energy. Learning a new computer system—after the initial frustration wears off—can be empowering. Learning new skills or taking your current ones to the next level as part of a certification process, for example, can also jump start your commitment and interest in what you do.
Put simply, helping others helps us feel better about ourselves. The service doesn’t necessarily have to be related to a company project. Sometimes people get involved in volunteer efforts that fill the gap of what they’re not getting in your job.
For example, as a motivational speaker and author I work independently. While I enjoy that, I was also starting to miss the leadership roles and teambuilding opportunities I had in my previous university administration career. So, a few years ago I got involved on the Board of Directors of my local YMCA which allowed me to serve the community and pursue leadership roles, such as this year’s stint as the Annual Support Campaign Chair.
By the way, serving doesn’t have to be in the form of joining an organization or volunteer group. There are many small ways that service can be rendered…volunteering once a month at a soup kitchen, tutoring kids after school and supporting the local Girl Scouts by buying their cookies.
I ran across a wonderful website www.payitforward.org based on one of my favorite movies. This website shares ideas, large and small, on ways to serve.
What are you doing on a regular basis to nourish yourself?
It’s hard to be passionate about our work — or personal life —when we’re run-down and exhausted.
I love the variety, and even contradictory responses, I receive when I ask audience members what they do to rejuvenate themselves. One person said “spending time with my family makes me feel good”, while the very next person said “I enjoy spending time alone, away from my family.”
The important thing is coming up with a list of activities that give you that all-is-well-in-my-universe feeling and then making sure you engage in at least one or two of them every week!
Last but not least, being grateful for what we have helps us stay positive and motivated. Some of us Type A, achievement oriented people spend so much energy in pursuit, that we forgot to take a deep breath and appreciate what we have.
In one edition of my monthly email Communique’, I included the A,B,C’s of Gratitude. An abbreviated version of this activity has become a great icebreaker for networking events and meetings.
I listed something I’m grateful for that starts with each letter of the alphabet: A for Awesome Audiences, B for Bargains, C for Clients... all the way to Z for Zest for life.
What are you grateful for?